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FAPUASA expresses concern over HEC unauthorized notices to Universities

ISLAMABAD, 28 APR, (DNA) – The appointment of faculty members serving under Tenured Track System (TTS) on administrative posts such as Vice Chancellor, Director Research, Dean of a Faculty and Head of Department is a prerogative of the Syndicates of public sector universities, and the HEC being merely a recommendatory body has no role in this matter, states a letter issued today (Thursday, 28 April 2016) by the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations FAPUASA (Islamabad Chapter) and addressed to a Consultant of Quality Assurance Division (QAD) at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad.

Following are the contents of FAPUASA’s response to Consultant QAD Mohammad Ismail’s letter dated 12 April 2016 to Vice Chancellors/Rectors of all public sector universities:

Thank you very much for making so many clarifications and decisions on behalf of HEC for thousands of faculty members in hundreds of universities of Pakistan, which were considered to be ‘autonomous’ before you joined the Office of QAD. Now this is FAPUASA’s turn to make due clarifications and ask HEC some pertinent questions on behalf of these thousands of faculty members.

  1. You failed, in your letter, to mention the authority who directed you to write this letter to all executive heads of universities; the Vice-Chancellors and Rectors.
  2. If this was the concern of QAD then you must realize that you have no authority to ‘instruct’ the autonomous bodies in Higher Education no matter how much you are ‘concerned’.
  3. Even if this letter has been written on the desire or directive of HEC Chairman, which you failed to state in your letter, the HEC Chairman is not authorized toundermine the autonomy of the universities by directly instructing their executive heads.
  4. If the decisions contained in the letter were made in any formal meeting of the Commission, then kindly explain under which clauses(s) ofthe HEC Act,is the Commissionauthorized to instruct the executive heads of autonomous universities?
  5. Contrary to your claims,Chairman HEC has repeatedly pressurizedthe Syndicates of top-ranking universities to promote some faculty members without mid-term reviews and has even got appointed those faculty members who were rejected by the Selection Boards.
  6. Under which lawful authority can the HEC dictate competent faculty members of public sector universities not to accept deputations sought by the Government of Pakistan on prestigious Pakistan Chairs Abroad?
  7. Under what lawful authority can an HEC Consultant ask the executive heads of autonomous universities to stop salaries of the faculty members who are the appointees of the respective Syndicates and not of the HEC?
  8. Are you not aware of the fact that in all the versions of TTS Statutes, a regular BPS faculty transferred to TTS enjoys all the facilities at par with BPS, including leaves, deputation and administrative positions?
  9. To appoint or not to appoint TTS faculty members as Administrative Heads is a prerogative of University Syndicates and they are appointed as per prevailing conditions/compulsions in the university. Similar is the case with reference to the assumption of additional charges/duties by the faculty members. Under which power can the Commission, the Chairman or QAD dictate the executive heads of the autonomous houses of knowledge in higher education? HEC is just a recommendatory/advisory body and not a regulatory authority at all, which could formulate rules for individual universities.
  10. You must know that, after the 18th Amendment, and in view of the report/recommendation of its Implementation Commission representing all major parliamentary parties of Pakistan, higher education has become a provincial matter and the powers of the “Federal” HEC have been curtailed substantially.
  11. How can QAD, Chairman HEC or the Commission itself decide on its own to even look at the annual, midterm or tenure review reports of any faculty member of any public university of Pakistan? You are well aware that “endorsement by HEC” is highly illegal and unauthorized practice and is a brutal example of lawlessness; the term “endorsement by HEC” is neither in the TTS Statutes of any of the public Universities nor it is mentioned in the Model Tenure Track Process Statutes of HEC.This is nothing but an attempt to convert HEC into a “Directorate” and the top ranked universities into “colleges” and this would serve no purpose but to destroy the future of Higher Education.

In your letter, you have clearly acted beyond your lawful authority and position, so much so that even HEC’s Model Tenure Track Statutes does not corroborate many of your “clarifications and decisions” contained in this letter.As a QAD Consultant in HEC, your job is supposedly to submit proposals/recommendations for quality enhancement of higher educationbut only to the Commission. After approval of these proposals by the appropriate bodies/officials of HEC, such a letter can only be written by a lawful authority of the HEC, requesting executive heads of the universities to place these proposals for approval beforethe respective statutory bodies.Since TTS Statutes of all the universities were formulated by appropriate committees comprising authorized officials from HEC and universities concerned,and after the acceptance of those draft statutes by the HEC, the same was approved and adopted by the Syndicatesof the universities,any further proposed amendment has to be routed through the laid down procedures for consideration of and recommendation by the appropriate committees to be accepted as Statutes.

In the light of the above, you are kindly advised to stay away from issuing unlawful “instructions”to the executive authorities of public sector universities in future, and instead respect their autonomy in letter and spirit. I am confident that you would understand the rationale behind our response narrated above, and would immediately withdraw your unauthorized letter for the sake of ‘quality assurance.” = DNA 

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